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For petrol heads with a conscience

Power is the one word that drives car lovers and carmakers to do the darndest things. But there’s also the environment to think of. So go hybrid with these top 5 eco-friendly supercars.

By A Naik

The race to be the fastest has manufacturers constantly innovating and making cars to beat their rivals. But how much can one engine churn out? And there’s also the fact that petrol heads are seen as those that pollute. So manufacturers went back to the drawing board and discovered a new species—electric cars.
Now, we are not talking about the Toyota Prius but something better, far more powerful that still goes like the wind. Here are five hybrid cars that have helped petrol heads move to greener pastures without losing any of the excitement.


Porsche 918
It’s the most expensive Porsche money can buy. And yes it’s the long awaited replacement of the 917. Porsche limited the production of the 918 Spyder Hybrid model to only 918 units to emphasise the car’s exclusivity. The price for this baby starts at€768,026 and can go all the way up to €947,716. You might think it is just another oil burner, well it partly is.
The Spyder is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6 litre V8 engine,which is capable of developing 608bhp. What makes it a hybrid are the two electric motors that deliver an additional 279 horsepower taking the tally to a massive 887bhp. The 918 Spyder’s 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack delivers an all-electric range of a mere 19 km. The car’s top speed has been rated at 340 km/h. Production of the car ended in June 2015 and rumour is all the models have already been sold!


Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari said that building the LaFerrari was its most ambitious project yet and it is. It will be built in limited numbers—only 499—and owning one means you belong to an exclusive group. Itis designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre and is Ferrari’s first ever production car to be equipped with the F1-derived hybrid solution—the HY-KERS system. It uses a 789bhp churning 6.3-litre V12 engine capable of revving to 9350 rpm. The engine is coupled to a 120-kilowatt electric motor that bumps total maximum output to 949 horsepower and a massive 900 Nm of torque. Two electric motors are on board, one to power the driven wheels and one to run ancillary devices.

The HY-KERS guarantees maximum integration between the V12 and the electric motor, seamlessly blending extreme performance with maximum efficiency. The high levels of torque available at low revs from the electric motor allowed engineers to optimise the internal combustion engine’s performance at higher revs. It’s got active aerodynamic devices, which help it keep planted to the ground and take corners at high speeds.


BMW i8
The i8 first made its debut in Mission Impossible, though it was just a concept at that time. BMW finally brought out a car that was fun to drive, easy on the environment and made people wonder which car to buy, the M3 or i8. The production version of the i8 was first showcased at the 2013 Frankfurt Motorshow and the car was an instant hit. The company started deliveries in August 2014, andsold 1,741 units car by December 2014.

Under the hood the i8 comes with a 1.5-litre inline 3 petrol engine and a 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery, which gives it the hybrid tag. Power from the gasoline engine is 228bhp, while the electric motor punches out 129bhp. The combined tally stands at a massive 357bhp. In all-electric mode the BMW i8 boasts of a top speed of 120 km/h. In Sport mode the i8 delivers a mid-range acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h in 2.6 seconds. The electronically controlled top speed stands at 250 km/h.


McLaren P1
McLaren decided to go the hybrid way by introducing the P1 and it is brilliant in every way. All the creases, the massive air dams and even the way the exterior is sculpted are all done to improve the car’s aerodynamics. McLaren P1’s powertrain comprises a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine with a lightweight, highly powerful electric motor. And together they produce903bhp and 900Nm of torque. The supercar can go from standstill to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds, and offers a top-speed of 257km/h. A total of 375 units have been built and it’s right up there, taking onthe likes of the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder.


Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell Coupe
It’s been a while since this car was seen out in the open (well it’s a roadster after all). But the biggest change is not that this is a top drop butthat it’s the quietest car of the lot (it doesn’t have a petrol engine) and that too being an AMG. The car took a few notes from the F1 world, the body and drivetrain use F1 technology and the designers have adopted the racing maxim of starting with drive engineering and working their way out.

It has electric motors and the battery is located within a carbon-fibre monocoque that acts as the car’s spine around which the aluminium spaceframe body is built. To keep the centre of gravity low, the battery compartment is close to the ground and spread along the length of the car. Replacing the petrol engines are four synchronous electric motors weighing 45 kg each turning at 13,000 rpm. In totality the motors put out 740 bhp and develop 1000 Nm of torque; keeping in tune with the AMG pedigree.
The SLS AMG E-Cell Coupe can go from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds while top speed stands at 250 km/h. The maximum range of the SLS is 250 km, which is good enough for a supercar. 

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